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Monday, March 09, 2009

If you thought he was moronic about Iran, wait until you hear him on Hamas and Hezbullah

The New York Times' Roger Cohen, who has already told us that the few Jews in Iran really don't have it so bad, and then went on to defend his position after he was ripped to shreds by anyone who knows anything about the situation, takes up a new cause today: The Hamas and Hezbullah terror organizations (Hat Tip: Soccer Dad).

Cohen's jumping off point is the wrongheaded British decision to open negotiations with 'moderate elements' of Hezbullah's 'political wing,' as if there are any such elements and as if there is a 'political wing' that is distinct from the 'military wing.' He then argues that the US should follow the British lead, something that unfortunately is all too likely to happen under an Obama administration. He then extends his crooning about Hezbullah to Hamas. He's Jimmy Carter-like.

The 1988 Hamas Charter is vile, but I think it’s wrong to get hung up on the prior recognition of Israel issue. Perhaps Hamas is sincere in its calls for Israel’s disappearance — although it has offered a decades-long truce — but then it’s also possible that Israel in reality has no desire to see a Palestinian state.

One view of Israel’s continued expansion of settlements, Gaza blockade, West Bank walling-in and wanton recourse to high-tech force would be that it’s designed precisely to bludgeon, undermine and humiliate the Palestinian people until their dreams of statehood and dignity evaporate.

The argument over recognition is in the end a form of evasion designed to perpetuate the conflict.
'Perhaps Hamas is sincere'? Can you give me any indications that they are not sincere in their desire to eradicate the Jewish state? When has Hamas ever said anything to even hint that their ultimate goal is not destroying the Jewish state?

Cohen either ignores or has no knowledge of history whatsoever. He claims that Israel has no desire to see a 'Palestinian' state. Israel bent over backwards to create a 'Palestinian' state. In 1967, Israel offered back all of the territory it had liberated in a defensive war (Israel was attacked by Egypt, Syria and Jordan simultaneously). Of course, it didn't offer that territory to 'Palestinians' because 'Palestinians' barely existed then. It offered that territory back to the countries from which it liberated that territory and who - by the way - showed absolutely no interest in creating a 'Palestinian' state during the years (1948-67) that they controlled the West Bank Judea and Samaria and Gaza. In response, Israel got the 'three noes of Khartoum: no recognition, no negotiation, and no peace with Israel. It's fashionable to claim today that was only a 'starting position.' But if it was, no one bothered to tell Israel that.

In 1973, Israel fought another existential war. Hamas didn't exist back then. The Arab countries still did their own dirty work. That war had nothing to do with the creation of a 'Palestinian' state.

In 1979, Israel signed the Camp David accords with Egypt and returned every last grain of sand in the Sinai to Egypt. At the time, it was decided that the 'Palestinians' would get autonomy in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, but there was no 'Palestinian' willing to recognize Israel's right to exist.

Beginning in 1993, Israel entered into the Oslo accords with Yasser Arafat, believing - foolishly - that he would lead his people to live with us in peace. Hamas continued to be rejectionist.

From 1993 to 2000 Israel spent millions of dollars and thousands of hours of its time trying to create a 'Palestinian' state. The 'Palestinians' weren't interested. They only wanted to destroy the Jewish state. They responded with terror.

In 2000, at Camp David, Ehud Barak offered nearly all of Judea and Samaria and all of Gaza to the 'Palestinians.' In response, Yasser Arafat started the Oslo terror war. In early 2001, Barak continued to pursue Arafat like a supplicant at the Taba talks. Arafat called for more terror and even orchestrated that terror with Hamas. Barak was put out of his misery when he lost an election in February 2001.

In 2005, Ariel Sharon walked away from Gaza (after expelling all its Jews), having despaired of ever reaching an agreement to give it to the 'Palestinians.' Sharon hoped that the 'Palestinians' would show that they could build a state in Gaza. But the 'Palestinians' responded with a sustained rocket shower on Israel that continues to this day. In June 2007, Hamas took over Gaza and the rocket fire increased.

Only an ignorant fool could argue that Israel did not want to see a 'Palestinian' state. That Israelis are not willing to commit suicide to make it happen (which is the only way the 'Palestinians' - and all the more so Hamas - want a 'Palestinian' state) by leaving themselves with indefensible borders, doesn't mean Israelis aren't prepared (with no justification whatsoever) to see such a state exist.
Israel, from the time of Ben Gurion, built its state by creating facts on the ground, not through semantics. Many of its leaders, including Ehud Olmert and Tzipi Livni, have been on wondrous political odysseys from absolutist rejection of division of the land to acceptance of a two-state solution. Yet they try to paint Hamas as irrevocably absolutist. Why should Arabs be any less pragmatic than Jews?
Oh of course, why didn't I think of that? Hamas is just being pragmatic. They're not really as absolutist as they claim to be and they show it by... being and claiming to be absolutist. I must have missed something in Cohen's 'logic.'
Of course it’s desirable that Hamas recognize Israel before negotiations. But is it essential? No. What is essential is that it renounces violence, in tandem with Israel, and the inculcation of hatred that feeds the violence.
Of course it's essential to recognize someone before they sit down to negotiate with you. Not that Hamas is willing to negotiate with Israel under any circumstances, but how do you 'negotiate' with someone who doesn't recognize your right to be in the room? How do you negotiate with someone who doesn't recognize any previous agreements you've entered into, and continues to insist that they want nothing other than to wipe you out? Why should Israel negotiate as anything less than an equal? Why should Israel allow Hamas to dictate terms? Because Hamas wants it that way? Who the hell is Hamas other than a band of sniveling terrorists?

As to renouncing violence, Israel doesn't need to renounce violence - Israel suffered eight years of rocket fire before it went after Hamas in December and January. Even when Israel did go after Hamas, it did all it could to prevent civilian casualties - casualties that Hamas did all it could to bring about. Hamas has never renounced violence. The only thing that's more valuable to Hamas than dead Jews is dead 'Palestinians.' Cohen makes the 'disproportionate' argument (yes, this column has it all), but for reasons I've explained many times before, that's nothing but a canard.

Contrary to Cohen's implication about both sides inculcating violence, it's only Hamas' media (and Fatah's but that's a separate issue) that promote violence. Remember Farfour? Nahoul? Assud? Nassour? Do you want more examples? How about Reem Riyashi? This video appareared on Hamas television. Let's go to the videotape.

Here's a summary of what that video is about:
Abhorrent as such images might seem, the story behind them is even more wrenching. Aired on a TV channel run by the Islamic militants of Hamas, the two-minute re-enactment was based on the life of Reem Riyashi, 22, a Palestinian mother of two who blew herself up in a suicide attack against Israeli soldiers at a Gaza border crossing in January 2004. Riyashi is hailed as a courageous resistance fighter among Palestinians throughout Gaza and the West Bank, but the truth about what drove her to such a terrible act is much more complex. Palestinians in Gaza and Israeli internal-security experts who studied the background of her case say Riyashi's husband had discovered that she was having an affair with a senior Hamas commander. Among conservative Palestinians, as in other parts of the Islamic world, an adulterous woman is often punished with death. Riyashi was given a second option: she could become a martyr. In a video statement released hours before her death, Riyashi, garbed in a militaristic uniform and holding a semiautomatic rifle, sounds tough. "I have always wished to knock at the door of heaven carrying skulls belonging to the sons of Zion," she says. But the pained expression on her chubby, homely face conveys considerably more ambivalence about the idea of annihilating herself to kill Israelis and restore her family's "honor."
Read the whole thing.

Comparing Israel to the way that Hamas glorifies violence is odious and disgusting. One would have thought that it would even be beneath the New York Times. Apparently, it is not.

Cohen claims he feels 'shamed' by Israel's actions. Why should he feel 'shamed'? Is he an Israeli? From the last name, he may be a Jew, but the last time I checked, only Israelis are responsible for Israel's actions, not Jews. Cohen says he is 'shamed' by Israel's actions in Gaza, but surveys of Israelis in Israel showed 91% supported Operation Cast Lead. And only Israelis have the right to decide whether our government should act. Why should Cohen feel 'shamed'?

Maybe it's finally time for Mr. Cohen (and others like him), who doesn't vote here, doesn't pay taxes here, doesn't get shot at, or blown up or run over by bulldozers here to shut up and stop feeling 'shamed' by what we do in response? Maybe it's time for Cohen and his ilk to stop interfering in our decisions about how we maintain our own security. It's our lives that are on the line - not his.

Until I looked at his biography, I had no idea Mr. Cohen was so senior at the Times. I first heard of him two weeks ago, when he published the first of what's now three straight Jew-hating, Israel bashing columns. On Friday the Times' stock price rallied to close above the cost of a Sunday paper. With columns like Mr. Cohen's, I wouldn't buy the paper or the stock.


At 2:31 PM, Blogger EC in NJ said...

We, the Jews in in the New York Times subscription area are long familiar with the writings of Richard Cohen and the Times news slanting (All the news fit to ptint...in the service of our agenda). Fortunately, there has been plenty of schadenfruede to be enjoyed lately when following the financial travails of "The Paper OF Record. To whit;

a. mortgaging of their flagship building (to keep the paper afloat.

b. decimated readership,

c. suspension of dividend (this hurts the family even more, as this is the financial legacy of the Sulzbergers),

d. diving stock price

My father in law recinded his (lifelonfg) subscription after the 1st Lebanon War. When they asked him why, he cited their biased Israel coverage, and the new improved smaller size, the paper was no longer suitable for birdcage liner either.

At 5:10 PM, Blogger Broomer said...

It will be a great day in America when NY Times finally goes out of print!

At 6:40 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Recognition of Israel's existence is really the crux of the Middle East conflict. The Palestinians' refusal to acknowledge Israel's legitimacy is why the conflict will never be settled. (Israel for the last 15 years, as CIJ in pointed before, offered the Palestinians a state in Gaza and almost all of Judea and Samaria only to see it repeatedly slapped away by the other side.) For Roger Cohen to ask Israel to negotiate with an unreformed Hamas is tantamount to asking the Jew to negotiate his fate with the Nazi. Such a "negotiation" can have only one outcome. For a Jew, Roger Cohen is well beneath stupid but unfortunately there are lot of ilk like him in the Western chattering classes who think if Israel would only disappear, the Arabs and Iran would change their view of the West.

They may hate Israel but like the Nazis with the Jews, its not just a Jewish problem and Cohen thinks its "only" a Jewish problem. Appeasing Hamas/Hezbollah will not help the US/UK out of whatever difficulties they face in the Middle East. In the 1930s, the sacrifice of Czechoslovakia triggered the Second World War. A sacrifice of Israel today would probably mean curtains for world and no one would be left alive to tell the tale.

Those who refuse to learn from history, to amend Santayana's famous aphorism, will never again learn from the error of their ways. That is the lesson of what will happen if Cohen ever gets his way vis a vis Israel.

At 3:26 AM, Blogger Butchie! said...

He is not moronic, he is evil.


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